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Dejan Kovacevic's Blog

Pittsburgh sports talk with the Trib columnist

Wakeup Call: Dixon’s class of classes

Some sporting thoughts before sunrise …

>> My Friday column looks ahead — way ahead — to Pitt’s 2012-13 basketball team, which could be their most talented ever given the recent recruits.

Doesn’t mean they’ll win. Just talking about talent. Keep in mind that everyone was all excited about Dante Taylor arriving as an All-American, and look where that’s gone.

>> In my extensive talk with Jamie Dixon for this piece, one question he asked was this: How many one-and-done players have won the NCAA championship?

The only one I could cite was Carmelo Anthony. In fact, that was the only one either of us could think of, though we weren’t exactly doing the research.

Can you think of anyone else?

And if you can’t, what does it say about the much-romanticized notion of having the one-and-done freshmen and going for immediate glory?

>> I can’t stand the Lightning’s brand of hockey, and that didn’t change last night even though the Penguins fairly easily found their way through the 1-3-1. But that ended up having precious little to do with their 4-1 loss in Tampa. This was all Dwayne Roloson, the 42-year-old goalie who looks like he just laughs off facing this particular opponent.

>> Franco Harris is getting dumped every which he turns, including by Mayor Luke Ravenstahl yesterday, and there are the predictable howls about free speech, due process and all that.

It’s a free country. Harris has a right to speak his mind, but companies and even governmental entities have a right to fire him for it. They can’t jail him, but they most certainly can fire him.

This isn’t complicated.

>> Today marks the deadline for the Pirates to set their roster for the Rule 5 draft, and this always has been a bigger even than it should be in these parts. Among the 46 eligible minor-league players, these are my choices to be protected: Starling Marte, Rudy Owens, Justin Wilson, Aaron Pribanic, Jordy Mercer and Matt Hague.

That’s one more player than the Pirates have spots on the 40-man roster, but that shouldn’t be an issue given the fringe of that roster.

>> Thanks to all who participated in our weekly chat yesterday.

>> Happy Light-Up Night to all. Suburbanites, behave yourselves. Some call this little Triangle home.


  1. PgherinLev says:

    With baseball’s realignment and interleague play set to become an almost daily occurrence, isn’t it time for unified rules?

  2. EmpChaz says:


    As I sit here this morning, reading your column and chat transcript, I wanted to say thank you. As a transplanted Pittsburgher who doesn’t get home too often, the papers are my way back to the area. You are just so darn good at what you do and I can’t say enough about the breadth and depth of your coverage. You are a lifeline to all of the Yinzers out there who live far, far away.

    DK: Appreciated, Emperor.

  3. JAL says:

    7 Bucs Dugout

    MLB Rumors: Pirates Interested In Rafael Furcal

    8 McEffect

    Contentment, Perspective, and Adam LaRoche

    9 Rumbunter

    Ramon Santiago Overload

    10 WHY GAVS

    Goodbye, Astros

    11 Raise the Jolly Roger

    More crazy MLB news: Selig adding wild card teams

  4. JAL says:


    12 NY Times

    Sale of Astros Gets Baseball’s Ducks in a Row

    13 Wall Street Journal

    Baseball’s Double Switch

  5. JAL says:


    14 PBC Site

    Hanrahan open to idea of contract extension

    Paul won’t take legal action after identity hoax

    15 Ohio Valley Athletics

    Colla’s solid season in Double-A, AFL, comes to a close

    16 Bleacher Report

    Pittsburgh Pirates: Can Brian Burres Bolster the Pirates Rotation?

  6. JAL says:

    Steelers Blogs

    -Behind the Steel Curtain

    The Curious Case of the 2011 Steelers Turnover Situation, Part 3

    BTSC Steelers Six Pack: Settling into the Bye Week Edition

    How Times Have Changed Since the Day Greg Lloyd’s ‘Three Count’ Knocked Al Toon out of Game with Concussion

    -Steelers Depot

    Steelers Six From Around the Web

  7. Jandy says:

    I was so frustrated watching the Pens/Lightning game last night, I literally screamed at the television. And it wasn’t the 1-3-1 that frustrated me, it was the Pens themselves. They just couldn’t beat Rollie. Go figure.
    I’m sure the ice was nasty, but that’s no excuse, as the Lightning played on the same ice as we did. Staal and Letang both had major blunders with the puck because of ice issues. UGH.

    Hope the Florida Panthers game goes better. The Dads deserve better than the display they got last night.

  8. JAL says:

    You just knew when when one falls others will follow

    Bernie Fine Scandal: Syracuse Coach Placed on Leave Amid Child Molestation Accusations

  9. Milo Hamilton says:

    Suburbanites behave yourselves ?

  10. Arriba Wilver says:

    Actually, government employees do have some free speech protections that employees of private employers do not. However, I think Franco was an appointee, not an “employee.” I don’t think for most the big problem was Franco getting let go from the city position. It was the Mayor’s grandstanding over it that was the problem. The Meadows showed more class than the Mayor.

  11. JoeBucco says:

    @DK – So no Pedro for any of the caravan stops. Is it just me, or does it really seem like he opts out of a lot of the “fan friendly” aspects of his role? It’s a lot easier to pull for a guy who is struggling when you think he might be a good guy, and I’m starting to think that Pedro is quickly becoming less likeable and more Barry-ish. You see guys like Hanrahan, Walker and Tabata, who seem like they love everything about Pittsburgh, and it’s easy to root for them and buy in. But then guys like Pedro, not so much.

    Not only this, but even back to the contract thing, and refusing to play winter ball, and heck, even seeing him *not* interact with fans on gamedays nearly as much as others, in terms of autographs or talking (and I think I have a pretty decent sample size now to have formed that opinion). If he skips PirateFest, I’m officially going to have to feel he’s not entirely invested in this thing. I think that says a lot about him in many ways.

  12. PhillyJake says:

    I miss light up night.

  13. PhillyJake says:

    I’m curious to see what happens to Alderson.

    Will NH protect him, which I think he should not.

    If he’s not protected, will he be taken? Will he stick?

    My prediction: Not protected, taken, returned in June. NH will take him back, not work out a trade.

    DK: No team will take Tim Alderson.

  14. BenderHeel says:

    @ DK: Here’s another one-and-doner who won a national championship:

    Marvin Williams, UNC, 2005 National Champions

    Sure, he wasn’t the star of the team. Shoot, he didn’t even start. But after averaging 11.3 points and 6.6 rebounds per game as the Tar Heels’ sixth man, he still left after his freshman year and was the 2nd overall pick in the 2005 NBA Draft by the Atlanta Hawks.

    DK: Nice one. Thanks.

  15. BenderHeel says:

    @PhillyJake: If Aldersen is not protected and drafted by another team, I’d be really surprised. And I’d be even more surprised if he lasted with that team until June.

  16. Leefoo says:

    JoeBucco……..If I’m Pedro, I wouldn’t want to show my face after last year.


    I’m not a fan of Pitt FB, but I follow their basketball team (has Penn State ever had a basketball team? **smile**)

    I support Franco all the way. Ravenstahl’s grandstanding was just that. I agree with AW… shows a lack of class.


    Arriba…….still being ‘held hostage’ by the PG sign up problem (this is like the 5th or 6th time!!). What a mess!!


    I agree with Dejan that there is some fringe ‘crap’ that can be cut from our 40 man to make room for our prospects.


    I see Brandon Wood signed with Colorado. Wouldn’t it be ‘something’ if, like Bautista and Vogelsong, he came back to haunt us and hit 30 HRs?

    I wonder if this makes it easier for us to get Ian Stewart (who I’d rather have)?


  17. Leefoo says:


    What I meant to say was: “.If I’m Pedro, I wouldn’t want to show my face AND EARS after last year.

  18. Milo Hamilton says:


    Can’t agree with you more. Lukie is a minor league hack. Today he’s going to come out against murder. Brave one, our little Lukie.

  19. Milo Hamilton says:

    Lukie now calling on all Pittsburgh TV stations to remove all Robert Wagner reverse mortgage commercials.

  20. DMac says:

    I will miss light up night too. That is one of the coolest things I discovered when I lived there…that and New Year’s Eve.

  21. PhillyJake says:


    I don’t see how you can put Vogelsong and Bautista in the same basket. While both are successful castoffs, their paths differ so vastly they’re not comparable.

    Bautsita was clearly a NH mistake. Voglesong was not a mistake. Look at how he flopped in the interim.

    People saw this potential in Bautista. Didn’t seem anyone saw it in Voglesong.

  22. Arriba Wilver says:

    The Boy Mayor lights up the tree inside Oxford Centre. I think it took him a couple years to figure out that he didn’t have to bring matches.

  23. DaveIn84 says:

    Lukie grandstanding? Shocking! What a putz.

  24. Leefoo says:

    Philly……..agree with you about Vogelsong…….I just ‘threw him’ in there for effect.


    Milo……..Had a good laugh with your ‘mortgage ads’ comment.

  25. Milo Hamilton says:

    Baseball’s new CBA doesn’t have a hard cap for draft spending but will include some kind of a tax for teams that go way over slot. The following is a direct quote from the commissioner. I couldn’t make this up.

    “We can’t have just a few teams destroying the game’s competitive balance by simply outspending the others. Fans in every city deserve to see their teams contend, not just fans in places like Pittsburgh and Washington.”


    DK: He didn’t really say that, did he? Do you have a link?

  26. Jandy says:

    Milo ~ lol! Do you do stand up?

  27. Dan1283 says:

    Greg Oden’s team lost the title game to Florida. Lots of players have come really close. I’m still stunned the 2009 Wildcats lost with John Wall and DeMarcus Cousins as freshman.

  28. RickJM says:

    C’mon DK…. You know very well that our constitutional rights extend beyond the government. This organization couldn’t remove him because he’s Catholic or because he votes republican. Both of those are protections in the Bill of Rights. So don’t give us that bs about the First Amendment only meaning the government can’t put him in jail. Franco would have a case against against the boy idiot if he wanted to pursue it. You’re on the wrong side of this one DK.

  29. Milo Hamilton says:

    The article I picked the Selig quote out of is clearly satire. It’s on Bucs Dugout and it’s very funny. But there’s a better than 50-50 chance he didn’t actually say that.

  30. Drew71 says:

    Un Freaking Believable quote, Milo. I thought you made it up until I looked it up.

    But the article must just be a brief summary. I couldn’t find Coonelly’s “Go Pound Salt, Bud quote.”

    The audacity of Cashman saying that 10-12MM spent on draft would hamstring the Yankees.


    Maybe the Pirates should revenue-share with them.

  31. Milo Hamilton says:


    After reading it again, it has to be made up. Very funny if it is.

  32. Arriba Wilver says:

    It is funny. The part at the end about Boras reminded me that I had asked a friend what the conceivable rational reason could be to make the draft cap/tax as a key point in the labor negotiations. His answer—to reign in Boras. That also could explain FC’s lack of any vehement disagreement with it. (I know, they aren’t allowed to talk, but still . . .)

  33. JAL says:

    Rick JM

    Dejan is correct. The First Amendment only applies to the government. The text is, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”

    Protections from being fired because we are Catholic or how we vote come from employment laws, not the Bill of Rights.

    The 14th Amendment extended the Bill of Rights to state and local governments.

    None of the rights are absolute.

  34. BenderHeel says:

    @ RickJM:
    “C’mon DK…. You know very well that our constitutional rights extend beyond the government. This organization couldn’t remove him because he’s Catholic or because he votes republican. Both of those are protections in the Bill of Rights. So don’t give us that bs about the First Amendment only meaning the government can’t put him in jail. Franco would have a case against against the boy idiot if he wanted to pursue it. You’re on the wrong side of this one DK.”

    Huh? I don’t think you understand the law.

    The mayor was certainly within his rights to ask Franco to resign.

    But he did it in a very unprofessional and disrespectful way.

  35. Arriba Wilver says:

    For government employees, with state action, since a job has been determined to be a “property” right, there are certain protections that flow from the Constitution. For example, the new county executive couldn’t fire some low level secretary for the County police department because she supported his opponent for county executive. Just an example.

  36. Arriba Wilver says:

    I agree with you, BenderHeel (but I thinkRickJM was being facetious–at least I hope).

  37. Jandy says:

    RickJM should use leefoo’s smileys ;)

  38. Milo Hamilton says:


    You see I posted the link to the Selig quote in a later post. After I read the whole piece I deduced it was satire & I was had. That’s what happens when you try to work & read Bud Selig quotes at the same time.

  39. Milo Hamilton says:

    Per Jerry Crasnick – Ryan Doumit signs with Twins. One year $3 million pending physical.

  40. BenderHeel says:

    Doumit for $3M.
    Barajas for $4M.

    Interesting. We shall see who made the better decision.

  41. Now that Houston will fade away from the National League Central, DK should have no more reason to complain about Pirates not being in the NL East.

    Sure Phils and Mets are fun to play, and I miss the rivalries. But in the East Bucs would also be stuck with traveling to Miami and Atlanta. Nice cities, but no cachet in playing Marlins and Braves, and both are so-o-o-o far-r-r-r-r away. And, of course, there’s that long-term hatred of the Nationals!

    Cubs, Reds, nasty Cards, and hated Brewers —— these are more natural and hated rivals . . . . and they are close enough to Western Pa. that I have driven to all 4 cities to watch Buccos play.

    I am a National League Central apologist!!! Bye, Bye Astros! Bye, Bye Dejan’s complaints!!

  42. JAL says:


    The Pirates would paid Doumit $7.25 million, that was the option they declined. Had they exercised it they would also have paid him $8.25 million in 2013 as exercising the option kicked in both years.

  43. Doumit also has bonus clauses from Twins in addition to $3 mill salary, probably based on games played and/or days not spent on DL.

    We need that info to become available before we compare dollars.
    Are bonuses easily attainable or “Ryan gets $10 million bonus for winning MVP AND Cy Young in same year” style!?

  44. Arriba Wilver says:

    Yeah, Doumit’s two year “option” was never really an option. Who was the moron who agreed to that?

  45. JAL says:


    They might have exercised the option if he had improved his defense, player 130 to 140 games a year, and hit 20 plus home runs every year.

  46. Arriba Wilver says:

    JAL—and what are you asking Santa Claus for this year? :-)

    It was a public relations deal after they traded Bay to say they bought out two years of his free agency, masterminded by Frank Coonelly. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it. :-)

  47. JAL says:


    maybe, but the price would have been cheap if he performed like I said. You saw with his signing today that he only only got half of what he would had so no one saw him worth $6.

  48. JAL says:

    Pirates add 6 to protect from Rule 5 draft,


    DFA Paul and Fryer

  49. TS says:

    Love Neal Huntington. Claims two minor league scrubs and sends another Triple A! Woo hoo! Here we come spring training.

  50. TS says:

    Friday rhyme for Milo Hamilton:

    If indeed those moronic words were said,
    tis’ time for Bud to be taken behind the shed
    and get a bullet to the head.

  51. TS says:

    Franco got what he deserved. It’s nothing new with that jackass.

  52. JoeBucco says:

    DFA for XP? I liked that dude, but probably not a long term answer. Glad they protected Hague, but still can’t figure out why he didn’t get a call up in September. Neither did he (I had a chance to talk to him about it, and won’t repeat his words, but let’s just say he thought he deserved a callup).

    @Foo, funny on Pedro’s ears. But geez, he must have LeBron’s personal advisor running his PR. Hey Pedro – when fans like you and you act like you care, you get the benefit of the doubt. When you’re an @$$, you don’t get the same love. You think people care that Cutch only hit .259 this year? (Well, aside from the inmates here anyway).

  53. MrB says:

    Ravenstahl is an idiot.

  54. Arriba Wilver says:

    @JAL—“You saw with his signing today that he only only got half of what he would had so no one saw him worth $6.”

    Like I said, who was the moron who agreed to that option?

    If Paul Maholm had won 20 games, had a sub-3.00 ERA and won the Cy Young award, they would have picked up his option, too. Same logic.

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